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2021-09-10 - Colloque/Présentation - communication orale - Anglais - 28 page(s)

Jandrain Tiffany , "Register Analysis of Modal Verbs in Student Translations: A Corpus-based Study" in Using Corpora in Contrastive and Translation Studies (6th edition), Bertinoro, Italie, 2021

  • Codes CREF : Linguistique appliquée (DI5320), Traduction (DI5326)
  • Unités de recherche UMONS : FTI-EII - Service du Doyen (T900)
  • Instituts UMONS : Institut de recherche en sciences et technologies du langage (Langage)
Texte intégral :

Abstract(s) :

(Anglais) While a tendency to examine registers can be increasingly observed in Translation Studies (to name a few, Baker, 1992/2011; Delaere, 2014; Gambier, 2013; Granger, 2016; Hansen-Schirra et al., 2012; Hatim & Mason, 1990; House, 1997/2015; Lefer & Vogeleer, 2016; Neumann, 2016; Schäffner, 2002; Steiner, 1998; Tomaszkiewicz, 2007; Trosborg, 1997b, 2002), many scholars are still calling for further investigation of the issue, as Johansson did in the early 2000s (Lefer & Vogeleer, 2016). In fact, the importance of analyzing registers before translating texts has recently been emphasized again (Gledhill & Kübler, 2016), since register analysis helps translators “gain increasing knowledge of socio-cultural variation in (specific) features pertaining to a genre in a particular culture” (Trosborg, 1997a, p. XV‑XVI). This paper tries to give this call some answers by presenting a corpus-based register study. It focuses on register analysis from the point of view of students translating from English into French. In fact, it has been claimed and proven that translation students have difficulty transposing register features and often make register mistakes in their translations partly because of the differences, in our case, between the English and French language systems (Chuquet & Paillard, 1987; Hewson, 1996). Indeed, whereas students often do feel that adapting language use according to the audience and the situation might be necessary to fulfil communicative functions of the text, many fail to do this successfully. More specifically, the study of this paper is carried out on a specific linguistic feature that is relevant to register analysis in translation: modal verbs. In fact, since modality is within the scope of the enunciation approach and therefore gives information on how objects are referred to in situational context (Branca-Rosoff, 1999), modality analysis is thought to help students consider components of register when they translate. More precisely, it gives students a view of how necessity and possibility moods are used in these registers in French, and, more precisely, how their different forms, according to the “traditional classification” (alethic, deontic and epistemic modalities) (Saussure, 2014), are used. In Translation Studies, Halliday’s model of discourse analysis from the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistics was employed by several scholars in their works (to name a few, Baker, 1992/2011; Hatim & Mason, 1990; House, 1997/2015; Munday, 1998; Neumann, 2016; Steiner, 1998; Trosborg, 2002). The theory of Functionalism in translation has considered the issue of register variation as well, with Nord (2005)’s translation text-oriented analysis model in particular. Nevertheless, while Register analysis approaches focus on a discourse analysis and Functional theories of translation on a textual analysis, it is suggested here that translation students may receive benefit from a combination of both approaches in their register analysis. We follow Biber and Conrad (2009)’s definition of register, which is “a language variety associated with both a particular situation of use and with pervasive linguistic features that serve important functions within that situation of use” (p. 31). Since the interpretation of modal features directly depends on the situational context (Saussure, 2014), Biber and Conrad’s framework of register analysis appears appropriate for the study of modality. Nevertheless, it was necessary to adapt this framework for our comparative and translation purposes, as it was specifically established for the analysis of English registers: 1) its linguistic categories of analysis were modified for the consideration of French texts (Riegel et al.’s Grammaire méthodique du français (2018) was chosen for this purpose); 2) Biber and Conrad’s step of interpreting functionally linguistic features of a register with reference to its situational context (which they hardly explain in their framework) was studied in this paper on the enunciative approach, which is not formally considered in the framework; 3) a translation perspective was added as well. Besides, since it can be hypothesized that translated texts can present linguistic differences from non-translated texts (Zanettin, 2013, in Kruger, 2018), this study also implied a study on corpora of texts which were considered comparable to those that the students were asked to translate. In other words, the data for this study has been retrieved from four French corpora, which were compiled for this study: two corpora of 14 translations (of a press article and a popular science article) made by advanced students into their L1, and two corpora of 30 non-translated texts (press articles and popular science articles) written by experts in their L1. Modal verbs were identified in our corpora by using the Sketch Engine concordancer (Kilgarriff et al., 2014). Occurrences were annotated and verified by running an intercoder agreement test according to Spooren and Degand (2010)’s procedure (the results of Cohen’s kappa ( = 0.757 for devoir and  = 0.635 for pouvoir) can be interpreted as “moderate” (McHugh, 2012)) Results of the comparable corpora show that modality is used differently in those registers (p<0.05). Regarding possibility, press articles tend not to imply addressees’ alethic and deontic capacity, whereas popular science articles tend to include them along with addressors’ capacity. Regarding necessity, alethic obligation is rarely used in both registers, whereas deontic obligation is overrepresented in press articles (p<0.05) and is used to animate abstract concepts in popular science articles. Results of the translation corpora show that there is a significant difference in the use of deontic obligation by students in their translations of the press article (p<0.05), while there is no significant difference of all the other types of modality in their translations. Furthermore, 57.1% of the students tend to translate the verb have to into devoir, whereas the verb can is more often translated into pouvoir (by 71.4% to 100% of the students). It should also be noted that those two verbs are used in students’ translations in the same way as they are used in the comparable corpora. Finally, Delizée (2012)’s typology is used to describe errors that students make. It appears that students who decided to reformulate the modal verbs of the source text tend to render incorrect meaning (glissement de sens) (Delisle et al., 1999). Concluding remarks and suggestions will be then presented. References Baker, M. (2011). In Other Words: A Coursebook on Translation (2e edition). Routledge. Biber, D., & Conrad, S. (2009). Register, Genre, and Style. Cambridge University Press. Branca-Rosoff, S. (1999). Types, modes et genres: Entre langue et discours. Langage et société, 87(1), 5–24. https://doi.org/10.3406/lsoc.1999.2851 Chuquet, H., & Paillard, M. (1987). Approche linguistique des problèmes de traduction. Ophrys. Delaere, I. (2014). A corpus-based multivariate study into register differences between translated and non-translated Belgian Dutch [Doctoral dissertation]. UGent. Delisle, J., Lee-Jahnke, H., & Cormier, M. C. (Eds.). (1999). 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